CFDA/Vogue Fash­ion Fund Toasts 15 Years

Kerby Jean-Ray­mond of Pyer Moss took home the top prize.

WWD Digital Daily - - Wwd - BY JES­SICA IREDALE

It’s been 15 years since the CFDA and

Anna Win­tour put their fash­ion mus­cle to­gether to pro­mote and men­tor emerg­ing de­sign tal­ent in the U.S. with the cre­ation of the CFDA/Vogue Fash­ion Fund. The an­nual gala was held Mon­day night at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard, where Win­tour and com­pany showed they know how to put on a pretty din­ner and pack it with pretty in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. The Rev. Al Sharp­ton was there. So were Olympic gym­nast Aly Rais­man, Huma Abe­din, La La An­thony, Lour­des Leon and Amer­i­can fash­ion es­tab­lish­ment such as Michael Kors and Zac Posen.

The gala served as a show­case for the 2018 par­tic­i­pants in “the Fund,” as it’s known, and as a re­union for the many de­sign­ers who have passed through its doors. The pro­gram was printed with all the past fi­nal­ists’ names — many are still around; just as many are not, a re­minder that win­ning the CFDA/VFF of­fers a great boost in vis­i­bil­ity and a cash in­jec­tion, but it doesn’t guar­an­tee long-term suc­cess.

Af­ter Win­tour and CFDA chair­woman Diane von Fursten­berg gave their open­ing re­marks, a video reel of the past CFDA/

VFF ex­pe­ri­ences played, show­ing just how dif­fer­ent a world it was in 2004 when Michael Bloomberg, then the mayor of New York City, mis­pro­nounced the name Proenza Schouler when pre­sent­ing Jack McCol­lough and Lazaro Her­nan­dez with the Fund’s first award. It’s wild to think that that was long be­fore In­sta­gram. It was be­fore names such as Alexan­der Wang, Joseph Al­tuzarra and Ja­son Wu were part of the Amer­i­can fash­ion vo­cab­u­lary. Heck, it was be­fore “The Devil Wears Prada” even came out, and it was way be­fore Don­ald Trump was pres­i­dent.

On that note, the evening had a cer­tain ele­ment of déjà vu to it. Two years ago, the gala fell on the eve of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Win­tour’s sig­na­ture chicken pot pies were branded with the word “vote” stuck with lit­tle tooth­pick flags bear­ing the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign logo. This time, on the night be­fore the midterm elec­tions, the pot pies were free of po­lit­i­cal para­pher­na­lia, and there was no giddy cer­tainty in the air that fash­ion’s fa­vorite can­di­dates would tri­umph. Win­tour and von Fursten­berg were sure to en­cour­age the crowd to go out and vote in their speeches, while din­ner ta­ble con­ver­sa­tion in­evitably turned to Trump in one way or an­other. David Neville and Ken­neth Cole traded tales of bizarre golf course en­coun­ters with the pres­i­dent.

But back to the fash­ion. Whether be­cause it was an an­niver­sary year or just be­cause, the 10 fi­nal­ists’ work was pre­sented via a live fash­ion show/per­for­mance hy­brid that was very re­flec­tive of the times, it gave the au­di­ence the “ex­pe­ri­ence” ev­ery­one is al­ways talk­ing about, and pro­vided a slew of In­sta­grammable mo­ments. Con­tent ev­ery­where. If it was good fod­der for all the so­cial me­dia feeds in the room, it was also good fun to the see the col­lec­tions live and in mo­tion. Pyer Moss’ lineup was worn by a choir, per­form­ing 4 Non Blon­des’ “What’s Up”; Bode’s was shown via tap dancers; Jonathan Co­hen had an aeri­al­ist; Chris­tian Cowan had drag queens lip sync­ing to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind;” Luar had some kind of arty bridal pro­ces­sion; Hunt­ing Sea­son had bop­ping Mod chicks; Scosha had mod­els in art­ful flower crowns; Re­becca de Ravenel had retro hero­ines on Ves­pas; Bath­sheva had prairie girl power, and Matthew Adams Dolan had dancers in his denim.

Af­ter the show, things came full cir­cle. McCol­lough and Her­nan­dez in­tro­duced ac­tress Emily Blunt, who played Mi­randa Pri­estly’s as­sis­tant in “The Devil Wears Prada” all those years ago, to an­nounce the run­ners-up and win­ners. Emily Adams Bode of Bode and Jonathan Co­hen were the run­ners-up, and were each awarded $150,000 and Kerby Jean-Ray­mond of Pyer Moss, who’s been hav­ing quite a year, took the top prize of $400,000. He ad­mit­ted he was “ap­pre­hen­sive” about the pro­gram at first, but it worked out well. “I’m go­ing to say some­thing that Anna prob­a­bly doesn’t want me to say, but she’s a re­ally nice per­son,” said Jean-Ray­mond in his speech, be­fore turn­ing to Blunt. “Your movie didn’t do her jus­tice.”

Kris­tine Froseth and Diane von Fursten­berg

Kerby Jean-Ray­mond

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